The main diseases caused by asbestos inhalation are asbestosis (the scarring of lung tissue) lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the chest and lungs) and pleural disease.
Thousands of people die each year in the UK from asbestosis related diseases. Successful claims for compensation for asbestosis and mesothelioma conditions, suffered because of exposure to airborne asbestos fibres, include claimants from a wide range of occupations.
Asbestos was used in the construction of many buildings between 1950 and the mid 1980s, including several schools and hospitals. There are newer buildings with high levels of asbestos too.
Families of those who work with asbestos can be infected if asbestos particles are brought into the home on clothes. It can take up to 40 years for symptoms to show.
To try to control these risks, the Government introduced the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002, which significantly tightened the legislation relating to asbestos exposure and requires employers and others who have responsibilities for a workplace building to take reasonable steps to locate materials likely to contain asbestos and impose significant responsibilities for the management of asbestos related risks.
In 2006, further legislation was passed in the form of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, which impose significant changes to the previous regime.
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